Davos Digest: 5G is coming soon, India's growing clout and poll-bound politics carries mood to WEF 2019


  • Bharti Airtel chief Sunil Mittal believes India is not far behind in the 5G race.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the world needs to look out for India and China’s growing contribution to the world economy.
  • Newly-elected Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath said that India continues to grow irrespective of the government in power.
As World Economic Forum 2019 inches closer towards its conclusion, several leaders acknowledged India's growing clout and economic power.

India vs China: The 5G race

A day after Chinese company China Energy Engineering Corp. announced its $4.4 billion plan of building 50,000 towers for telcos in the country, which could possibly boost its 5G presence. India’s largest telecom service provider Bharti Airtel owner Sunil Mittal has said that India will possibly welcome 5G in three years.

So far, 5G has been mainly in talks in India with leaders like Reliance Jio saying that 5G device ecosystem in India will mature by 2020.

Meanwhile, speaking to ET now, he said that while the on-ground reality of markets is not bad, the mood is not uplifting because of uncertainty about what’s going on. He also added his two cents about the upcoming general election in India, saying that the election discourse has become pretty ugly, even though that is expected.

German Chancellor calls out India

While most top leaders of the world are giving WEF 2019 a miss, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made an appearance at the event. During her session, she spoke about India’s impact on the world economy. Merkel spoke about the changing dynamics of the global economy.

She said that the global architecture is still driven a lot by what was created by people who were in power after the Second World War and they had the insight and their decisions should not be cast aside. However, she added "Countries like China and India are affecting the global economy much more today and the global organisations need to take that into account.”

Now speaking: Political agenda

For the Indian audience, one of the highlights of Day Three at Davos was the newly-elected Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s panel. Speaking on a panel on emerging market outlook, Nath said that India continues to grow irrespective of the government in power and its policies, and is in fact driven by its youth population.

There was no stopping Nath, who referenced all recent economic reports on India – good and bad. Talking about IMF’s latest prediction about India’s GDP growth, he said, “GDP is a fancy figure and at times it can be misleading as one needs to see where all a 7.5 per cent growth figure translates into.”

He also took the global platform to defend one of his first decisions as Chief Minister – loan waiver for farmers – for agriculture is a backbone of the Indian economy and he had to take into account the distress the farmers were in.